If You Don’t Write Fanmail, Start

Sir Ian Holm died.

I should have sent him a note saying I liked him as Bilbo in the Lord of the Rings films. And Fifth Element. And one of the audio versions of the Lord of the Rings. And in Day After Tomorrow, admonishing his colleagues to not waste fine scotch delaying the inevitable but instead enjoy it in the face of oblivion.

Dave Madden died. He played a wise-cracking, curmudgeonly, grumpy, sarcastic, Jesus-loving, story-telling janitor in the radio theater Adventures in Odyssey. He wasn’t my favorite character in my childhood, but once I grew up and listened again to the episodes, the humor then clicked for me. And since I’m now a janitor, well, I feel a kinship to the character. I never wrote Dave Madden fan mail.

Clive Cussler died. My dad reads books. Lots of dads read books. I love to hear my dad chuckle in his chair, to look over and see him grinning to himself, the latest Cussler novel open and propped against his knee. I never wrote Clive Cussler a thank you note for the dad chuckles.

Ennio Morricone © Italian Academy Foundation, Inc.

Ennio Morricone died. When I received my first cell phone and my folks said, “If you want to buy a ringtone, you may,” I considered carefully, nothing standing out to me as unique and non-conformist. Practically every other kid out there had Star Wars or some such popular equivalent. Then I heard the main theme to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The peal of the bell, the yodels, the mouth harp, the flute – what a jaunty, epic combination! And more pieces just like it in Morricone’s arsenal! I really started examining my music choices then and thinking through the specifics of what I liked. I never wrote Ennio Morricone a thank you note for the upwelling brass section flooding a rush of emotion through my head as I listened to “The Ecstasy of Gold” for the three hundred and twelfth time (pssst, it’s around the 2:24 mark).

Sir Alan Rickman died. Sir Christopher Lee died. Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca). Walker Edmiston. Hal Smith. John Barry. Jerry Goldsmith. James Horner.

I’m sure they got a lot of fan mail in their lives. I lament the fact that I myself did not thank them.

I realize there a lot of people with talents I enjoy observing, perhaps even too many to say a thank-you to each. I must thank a few more than I have done.

I know saying “thank you” won’t always lead to response. I’ve no illusions of being the next Prince Ferdinand Johann Georg Hermann Heinrich Ludwig Wilhelm Friedrich August whose fan mail led to Wilhelm Kaiser inviting him over for a visit and eventually marrying his widowed mother (look him up if you’ve time – Dale Carnegie was certainly impressed).

I must not do this out of guilt. I must do this out of genuine appreciation.

And then turn to those nearer, more directly involved in my life, and begin a fresh fan letter for those not-as-appreciated heroes. Maybe that’s another post.

A/N: This is kind of a follow-up/continuation of a blog post I wrote the other day: https://elkwriter.com/2020/06/29/dont-stop-writing-fan-mail/

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